By Takis Fotopoulos
Murray Bookchin in his article "Whither Anarchism? A Reply to Recent Anarchist Critics" gives an account of how John Clark and Dimitri Roussopoulos were "dropped" from the International Advisory Board of Democracy and Nature (formerly Society and Nature), which is completely inaccurate. Although, as Bookchin points out, it is true that the journal never claimed to be a social ecology journal, still the fact that we published more articles from social ecologists than from any other political current created the impression to some, including Andrew Light in the CNS interview that Bookchin refers to, that the journal is an organ of social ecology. However, as far as the journal is concerned, it has clearly declared since its very first issue, back in 1992, and repeated since then, that its aim was "to initiate an urgently needed dialogue on the crucial question of developing a new liberatory social project, at a moment in History when the Left has abandoned this traditional role; the materialisation of the liberatory project and the transition from a hierarchical society to an ecological one is meant as the outcome of a dialectical synthesis of three tendencies that are expressed in corresponding political traditions and movements: the autonomous- democratic tradition (that includes the feminist movement), the libertarian socialist and the radical green movements". Obviously, for us in the journal, social ecology and libertarian municipalism have always been just a component -albeit an important one- of this synthesis. In fact, Murray himself has misconceived the nature of the journal and its aims and this has led him to dissociate from the journal and resign from its advisory board as soon as he became conscious of this misconception (see reply of the editorial board to Murray Bookchin's resignation letter, Democracy & Nature no 9 (1997).
Coming now to the account of the events in Scotland's social ecology conference in 1995 and the change in the structure of the advisory board of the journal, Bookchin states bluntly that "Democracy and Nature's managing editor, Takis Fotopoulos,dropped John Clark from the journal's International Advisory Board because of the bitter disagreement between Fotopoulos and Clark at the Scotland conference (which I described in my Democracy and Nature article on Clark in issue 9). Although my own disagreements with Clark were well known to Fotopoulos, I had nothing to do with the decision or action to drop him".
Bookchin is right that he had nothing to do with the decision to "drop" Clark from our advisory board, although he did try to influence the editorial board when, for instance, in an e-mail message to me dated 13/10/95 he stated categorically that "I should advise you that I do not want to be on any editorial board that also contains this man's name". In fact, there has never been any decision to "drop" any member of the advisory board by the editorial board, let alone by myself alone (still, although decisions in the journal have always been taken collectively and democratically by the entire editorial board, Bookchin, in an obvious attempt to discredit me, keeps trying to create the impression that important decisions in the journal are taken by myself alone). To adopt such tactics in dealing with valuable contributors is simply not compatible with the ethics of the new liberatory project that the journal attempts to develop. Furthermore, the editorial board could not accept pressures of any kind to this effect (although there have been similar pressures, as I mentioned above) -something that would have been hardly compatible with the autonomy project for an inclusive democracy that it supports.
As a matter of fact, after a dispute between the editorial board and the publisher of the greek edition of the journal, we had to restart the journal under a new name and a new editorial and advisory board structure, as we declared in no 8 (1995) of the journal under its new name Democracy and Nature . In this context, we had to decide which members of the old advisory board would be invited to take part in the new board-a routine decision that every new journal has to take.
The criteria we used for that decision were the same we used when we started the journal in 1992, i.e. who would best help in the achievement of its main aim concerning the development of the synthesis mentioned above. John Clark, after his recent vitriolic attack on the conception of direct democracy, which I criticised in my recent book ("Towards An Inclusive Democracy" , Cassell, 1997 pp 235-37) had obviously no place in a journal fighting for an authentic direct, economic and ecological democracy. The same applied to Dimitri Roussopoulos for whom Bookchin does not give the reasons why he was supposedly "dropped" from the advisory board. The decision for Roussopoulos' non-inclusion had mainly to do with the political views he expresses lately in favour of taking part in Euro-elections which are incompatible with the project for an inclusive democracy, let alone libertarian municipalism, as Murray himself was emphasising in the past, before the restoration of his troubled relationship with Roussopoulos. Finally, the decision was related to the fact that Roussopoulos, in the dispute between the editorial board and the social-democrat publisher of the journal, he sided fully with the latter, jeopardising the very future of the journal he was supposed, as a member of the advisory board, to protect.